18 December 2013
People with Disability Australia (PWDA) welcomes the Coalition Government’s commitment to delivering the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in full, reconfirmed today by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield.
PWDA President, Craig Wallace stated, “To make the NDIS work, the Government needs to send strong messages of certainty. It needs to give the scheme time to bed down and stabilise pricing and purchasing behaviours, while beginning to reap the benefits of the Scheme. I have and will be communicating this strongly and directly to Government over the next few days”.
Mr Wallace went on to say; “All of Australia’s major political parties went to an election supporting the full implementation of the NDIS. Our Prime Minister was right to say that the NDIS, which is due to start in full by 2019, had been one very good thing to come out of the previous parliament. We continue to look forward to working with the Government on this once-in-a generation reform”.
Discussions over recent days, and particularly following the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) have focused on the cost of the scheme being sustainable for the Australian people. Mr Wallace said this is why PWDA has:
advocated for the funding of the scheme via an insurance premium (the Medicare levy) which was passed earlier this year and removes a major cost burden from the Government’s general revenue;
opposed spending on branding of the scheme to DisabilityCare;
supported the Parliamentary oversight committee and the maintenance of transparency about scheme costs to the Australian people;
supported launch sites being agreed through COAG and not announced in an ad hoc way; and
supported the National Disability Strategy (NDS) so that community resources step up to ensure the NDIS is sustainable and affordable.
Mr Wallace argued that, “This scheme is also a saving. It will mean less people in aged care and respite and less people falling into expensive crisis options. It will mean more people in participation and jobs.”
“It seems far too early to construct an informed view about the cost of the NDIS over time as we are only 6 months in to the launch. Some of the trial sites, such as the entirety of the ACT, have not yet fully started. It’s not clear whether the other sites are in areas of high demand or low levels of service supply. It is reasonable that the early stages of the scheme would involve meeting a log-jam of unmet demand from a broke and broken service system.”
Mr Wallace cautioned against returning to the failed capped and rationed system system of the past:
“Capping the NDIS would create perverse outcomes and distort purchasing behaviours. It may encourage people to spend high until the funding runs out. It is contrary to choice and control. It won’t create a new competitive service, support and equipment market with price competition. At the moment there is limited competition and many items and services are unreasonably priced“
“We need to do the work to get a better understanding of why the initial packages are reported as being slower in production and high cost before making snap judgments. It should be expected that the early stages of the NDIS would involve meeting a log-jam of unmet demand from a broke and broken service system.”
“The Productivity Commission has pointed out that implemented properly the NDIS will provide major economic benefits. It will mean less people in aged care and respite, and less people falling into expensive crisis options. It will mean more people participation in the economy and in jobs.”
“When Prime Minister Abbott said ‘This is too important for our country to fail this test’, he was dead right. Capping the NDIS amounts to failing, and we cannot fail this test now.”
People with Disability Australia Incorporated (PWDA) is a national disability rights and advocacy, non-profit, non-government organisation. We have a cross-disability focus, representing the interests of people with all kinds of disability and our membership is made up of people with disability and organisations mainly constituted by people with disability.
Our vision is of a socially just, accessible and inclusive community, in which the human rights, citizenship, contribution, potential and diversity of all people with disability are respected and celebrated.